Pay Attention and Speak Up to Save Money!

pay attention save moneyIf we have our head in the game, and we’re able to be vocal, it can be really helpful in many areas of life. In school, socially, and at work – paying attention and not being afraid to talk are generally good things.

I’ve written about this before, when talking about the importance of speaking up in both school and at work. In the latter, meetings and presentations are times when we should show leadership and the ability to get our points heard while carefully listening as well.

Additionally, when it comes to paying attention, being able to notice the details is a good thing. One example I’ve written about is the concept of being careful to review credit card statements. Sometimes we can see some expenses that shouldn’t be there. Perhaps a subscription or membership we thought we canceled really wasn’t. Whatever the case might be, paying attention to credit card bills is just one example of noticing the details.

Recently I experienced a situation that involved both details as well as speaking up. This time, it also involved saving money!

Actually, it was quite harmless overall. But it made an impression upon me because it was my oldest kid who showed the ability to notice the details and say something about it.

Here is what happened. The two of us were at a local sandwich shop, picking up lunch. I scanned the menu searching for what I thought was the healthiest option, and ordered it. Then, I asked my daughter what she wanted.   She picked out a kid’s meal.

So, I made the order for her as well. The guy behind the counter had a slightly annoyed look on his face, but tried to nicely say that the meals are supposed to be only for kids 8 and under. Thus, I really should get something else. I didn’t even think twice about saying sorry to him since she’s a bit older than that, and then asking her what she wanted to get instead. I simply hadn’t seen that fine print beforehand.

She paused, looked at the menu board, and then quietly told me “It only says recommended for kids 8 and under.”


At that point, I sheepishly told the guy behind the counter that the sign actually said recommended for children 8 and under, not only for kids 8 and under. Therefore, since it’s not prohibited, I’d like to order the kids meal.

He looked up again, clearly saw how the wording actually was on the menu board, and then looked back at me. With his own sheepish look, he turned quite nice and said (paraphrasing here) “I guess its okay then. That’s fine”

As a result, I might have saved a couple of dollars.

Now, that’s not exactly a big deal or a cause for a big celebration. It won’t change anyone’s financial situation. The few dollars saved isn’t the point here.

However, the bigger point is that sometimes you have to pay attention to the details. If you’re careless, or just listen to what someone else says, you might lose out. Beyond that, the next step is to actually have the nerve to speak up and nicely debate the other person or business on the issue.

In this case the money at stake was very small. But in another case, it could be a lot of money. As we know, the small financial victories are fun to get, but the lessons we can learn from them can help us secure the big financial victories that can go a long way to helping us.  Sometimes, we can even learn these lessons from a kid!

My Questions for You

Have you ever caught a discrepancy or mistake that ended up saving you money?

Do you ever hesitate to speak up, or can you discuss without reservations about it?



  1. says

    I like how your kid called out the employee on the small details. But I really get annoyed with employees that care about little details like that. I don’t understand why you can’t order anything on the menu, unless perhaps after a certain time they stop making a specific item there really shouldn’t be an age limit on food.

    I for some reason doubt that the owner of the restaurant would have cared as long as he’s selling food then what’s the big deal. Plus, it’s not like they were checking your kids ID’s to make sure they were a certain age.

    • Squirrelers says

      I think smart business would be to let the customer read the “recommended” part, and if he or she ignores it then so be it. Don’t say anything annoying to irritate the customer and potentially lose that revenue stream from their future visits going forward.

  2. says

    I’m sure I have but I can’t recall one at the moment. I just wanted to say, it’s funny how the kids sometimes prefer the kids meals even until they are much older, sometimes even over 12 years of age. Mine all did it, except for my son, maybe. I always tried to let them get the kids meal if that’s what they wanted.

  3. says

    I never understood the idea that the kids meal could only be ordered by people younger than a certain age. I doubt that if they opened up the kids menu to everyone, that more people would rush to get the hot dog or the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the big deal is. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

    • Squirrelers says

      The notion that they had it “recommended” for people under a certain age is all good, it’s idea that they would actually call someone out for ordering one when older is a bit over the top in my opinion. They didn’t officially bar people from ordering such meals based on what was written, but tried to change the rules verbally. That being said, I also see your point and maybe even opening up smaller meals to everyone could alleviate such situations.

  4. says

    The non-kids meals cost $3 more (just making numbers up) but probably cost the place $0.50 more, so they of course want to steer away from the kids meals when possible as I’m sure the margin goes up as the prices increase.

    • Squirrelers says

      The numbers part makes sense. Concurrently, the idea that they would go to the point of verbalizing their preference is not indicative of having a strong customer experience philosophy. Ultimately they probably want to keep a customer rather than lose the future revenue stream simply due to nitpicking on an age restriction that was noted as a recommendation rather than requirement.

  5. says

    There have been many times that I have gone through the drive thru and used multiple coupons. Instead of placing one order, I would say that I had two separate orders. After working in the fast food industry, I learned a lot from people using multiple coupons and getting multiple discounts.

    • Squirrelers says

      It’s interesting how we can learn best practices from others. Always good to keep an open mind.

  6. says

    I’d give yourself a pat on the back. Not only did your daughter notice the fine print, she mentioned it to you (perhaps to save money or maybe she just really wanted the item on the menu – either way, that’s awesome!) Good for her!

  7. says

    I’m generally an introvert person, so I don’t speak up that much unless it’s really necessary. On the other hand, I’d say that I pay attention to details and it comes in handy sometimes 😀

  8. says

    Details are definitely important. When you are working hard to reach financial goals, its important to have a good eye for details. You are working too hard to let those mystery expenses go by. Its worth taking a moment to ask.

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